26 February 2009


So, I have some things to get off of my chest regarding French culture vs American culture... and the like.

First of all- chewing gum. The French just have NOT mastered the art of a good chewing gum that can retain the flavor for quite a long time without getting hard and rubbery. The best gum I have found here is Freedent- which I have been told by my American friends is purchased for people with dentures... hence "freeDENT". So... Kudos Americans. You've won this battle.

Drinking age. (I'm not turning in to an alcoholic, as you may think because I seem to mention drinking a lot! i do other things, I promise!!). The drinking age in the USA really does give Americans a terrible name when they come to France. (No, Kayleigh, not all underage Americans give us a bad name... you are an exception!) But those "other" underage Americans... seriously??!! The French tend to go to bars or start drinking much later than we do, so by 9 pm if someone is drunk it is clear they are American.
My friend, Charlotta, from Switzerland told me about the drinking laws in Sweden, and I think they make sense. If you are in a restaurant with your parents, you can have a drink with them- pretty much at any age. But if you are not with your parents, you can go to a bar/restaurant and drink at 18. However, you cannot buy alcohol from a store until you are 20. I think this makes sense, because by the time you are 20 you will be broke from only going to bars, that alcohol won't be as big of a deal, right? Ok, maybe not. But it's an interesting thought.

School. The excuse of living too far away from class so you cant make a mid morning class doesnt fly with me. Good thing Im not a teacher! And once someone walked in to class one morning a couple of minutes late, and when everyone turned to look (which is natural when someone walks in when a teacher is already addressing the class), this person says, "Surprise!" Maybe it would have been a LITTLE more acceptable if this person said it like, "sou-pr(french R) e zah" but no... just "Sir Prize!" Woah. Let's not draw attention here.

Moving on.

Whoever told me school is a joke in France and you can travel whenever you want and teachers don't care about your attendance- I want to know what school you went to. My teachers take attendance every day, I have homework every night, and grades are taken very seriously. My friends studying abroad in Spain are quite lucky because they are living the life... there (supposedly!) school does not matter, they CAN travel whenever they want, and they ARE traveling whenever they want because they say teachers there understand that part of studying abroad is also learning the culture and participating in the culture. Which I totally agree with- and spending 10 hours a day at school just is NOT introducing me to the culture of not only France, but all of Europe in general. However, I will admit one thing which I am not proud of... When I am not in class I am speaking a lot of English and hanging out with a lot of Americans (or students like the Asians who have a smart system of teaching english to everyone when they are very young). While my friends and I keep saying "when we're on the streets we need to speak in french," it's just not happening. Goal for the rest of the week: SPEAK. MORE. FRENCH.

Tomorrow I head off to Paris to spend Friday night with Guillaume and his friends, and then Saturday morning I'm heading to Besansçon to see Pauline and Julien!! I'm SOOOOO excited!!!!!!

Ok. Le Fin.

... except for this.
I feel really bad for having a presumption that I was not going to like the Asians at my school. I have to admit that I really didn't want to be friends with them! I don't know why.... because they are SO COOL!!!! This is reminding me of the quote that Cristina kept telling me before I left... "NO EXPECTATIONS". I had an expectation and it totally proved me wrong. Shame on me. Shame shame shame. And, like Piper said, for the first time in my life- I actually want to go to Asia.

Ok. Le Fin. Vraiment.

23 February 2009


J'aime lundi.

et chocolate.

et fleures.

22 February 2009

Love is powerful

I find it amazing that while this flower is dying, it is still absolutely beautiful. In fact, I think I was drawn to it because it was dying. And I'm thinking too deep, and perhaps stuck in my romantic fantasy of a world, but here is my analysis of this:
A rose is a universal symbol for love and beauty. So, even though this rose is dying, it is still beautiful. Even when you are dying the person you love the most should still love you and think you're beautiful, no matter if you are a child or 120 years old. Because you know what? Life and love is beautiful, and so are you.

" Vive ce moment present, croyez-moi! N'attendez pas demain. Cueillez aujourd'hui les roses de la vie." - Pierre de Ronsard
= "Live now, believe me! Wait not till tomorrow. Gather the roses of life today."

Paris photos

Ok, since I didn't post photos of Paris with my quick re-cap... I'm just going to randomly post them now. Enjoy!


Every day I find more reasons as to why digital photography is a great thing. Yesterday I came across a boy using his parents camera while at Mont Saint Michel. At least I hope it was his parents camera... because he looked to be about 3- no more than 4 years old!

Now a parent can let a child document the world how they see it without having to worry about the cost of film. I think it's fantastic!!!

How many languages do you know how to say, "I Love You"?

I wonder how many people have photographs of me... and what I'm doing... I wish there was a way to find that out! I've taken some cool photos of unexpecting strangers...

Why I want to move to France

The more time I spend in France, the more I want to live here. It's ridiculous because I absolutely cannot make up my mind: a big city in the US (such as NYC, Chicago, or Austin), or a small town in France (somewhere in the region of Bretagne). Really, it's quite difficult to decide. But here are some reasons for why France:

The romance.
No, it's not just from the movies. There really is a difference in love in France and in the US. In the states, holding hands in public is sometimes frowned upon- definitely not widely accepted. And kissing in public? No way josé! But in France all of this is everywhere... and not just by young people, either. The lovebirds are ALL ages and it is absolutely beautiful to see such a thing. I say PDA all the WAY!

I swear no one here wears watches, because no one is ever on time. But you know what? That's PERFECT for me because I don't own or wear a watch. Cell phone always on my hip? No, I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a clock on it (shhhhh).

While it may be difficult to learn the french language, it is absolutely beautiful. I may hate it at times, but when I'm not thinking about it, it's fantastic.

There is so much history to France... the castles are gorgeous, and the homes are made out of stone. It's incredible. But the coolest thing is learning about the history of the different places... like when Mont Saint Michel was first built on the "island" in the middle of this mud waterbed feeling gunk, it was tiny and there wasn't much to it. However, it eventually turned in to the ginormous masterpiece that it is today.

The coast:
The coast spans on for miles and miles and miles. It is incredibly relaxing. I think I just stood there for awhile reflecting on life: friends, family, past, and future. There just aren't distractions. I know we have the east and west coasts in the states, but there was something different about this. Maybe it was the dogs running free on the beaches, or all of the families just walking and enjoying it all. I'm really not quite sure, but it was fantastic. 

However, I don't know how to wear shoes for a beach :P

Kinda fell in love with this guy, though (don't worry daddy... customs won't let me bring him home with me!)

Ok, here are just a few random pics from the day:

and finally...

19 February 2009


Alas, I have internet.... at my house! I have to admit, however, that I really was kind of liking the fact that when I came home, I slept or worked on homework. But it was keeping me away from home a lot... because I never seem to want to do any of those things (except sleep. right after dinner. at 8pm. oh yea).

So, since i have internet and I'm - as usual- avoiding homework, I might as well update you on a few things.

School supplies:
All of you who have studied abroad failed miserably at telling me to bring some very important things: school supplies. While books for class are much cheaper here than in the states, school supplies are outrageous! A cheap BIC pen is .60 euros. A notebook to write in? Can't find one for less than 2 euro... and that's IF you're lucky. However, the 2 euro is for a notebook with grid paper. If you are lucky enough to find a spiral with plain horizontal lines, it will be ruled for a first grader, and cost a good 8 euro. No complaining here :) Just a word from the wise....

Sidewalks are for 3 things in Angers. Walking, parking, and a place for dogs to poop. No wonder the French get the stereotype of not being friendly while walking in the streets... they are always looking down to make sure they don't step in dog poop. It all makes so much sense now!

Like in the states, you can meet some really interesting people in a bar. But I feel like the people here are even more interesting than the people you can find in Lawrence. I will give you some descriptions...
French man, late 30's, hanging out in the bar that is known as an international hangout. Beligerant, obnoxious, and touchy. His friend supposedly has only been to the US once, and it was to visit a friend who who just happened to live in Lawrence. 2 truths and a lie? Um, I think they were all lies.
Next attempt at going to this bar, the first non- american who approaches me is an italian man, 40s, eh, yea. Tells me he loves me, wants to buy me a drink, and take me to Italy with him. Luckily I had Piper who saw my look of desperation and pulled me aside. He then approaches her and calls her names for taking me away from him. Hm.
Nicolas (I think was his name?). 17, thinks he's super cool- but not. Unkept blonde surfer hair and huge red artsy glasses. Happened to have a friend dating a student who has been studying abroad in Angers since last semester, so they convinced the rest of us to come meet their friends all the way upstairs, secluded from the rest of the french people. They were young, immature, and pretty much acted like they ruled the world. From this encounter, I decided it's not worth lowering the drinking age to 16. I don't think it makes any difference. Kids will be kids regardless of how long they have been allowed to drink alcohol.
Ludic, Jacques, and italian friend (whose name i can't remember!). Actually, they are perhaps the coolest people I've met at a bar thus far, and after they finish their exams next week, my KU friends and them will be hanging out more- finally! A legit way to practice my french! AHD they're our age. PLUS!
Kat: She's the bartender at the international student bar. Born and raised in France, but LOVES america. She's so much fun and such a crazy goof!

I walk EVERYWHERE. And I LOVE it because I eat so much bread and cheese during the day (thank goodness for lactaid!) that I get to work it off this way.

Host mom:
She's SUPER cool. Well, things were kind of rocky for a bit, but they're better now. She doesn't know any english, so dinner time is fantastic because we all talk for about an hour. Her cooking is FABULOUS and I look forward to every m/t/w nights because I get to eat her food! She calls me "Cat" which I think is kinda funny, but I guess "Cate" is hard to say in French?

Hm. I think that's all I have for now. I'll probably post more later. I have homework to do now...


13 February 2009

Cat as a dog

I was walking to class just now, and a man made me day.

He was walking his cat as if it was a dog. And talking to it as one, too. Without a leash. Like all of the dogs in Angers.


06 February 2009


I knew it was too good to be true that I hadn't missed home yet... but when my dad had my dog get on SKYPE with him, I realized how far away I am and I just wish I could be home with dad, Gma, Aunt Cathy, Rusty, a big jar of peanut butter and a ginormous bag of peanut butter m and m's.

05 February 2009

Wooah intense!!!

So I am going to start off by apologizing that the blog is still without photos and frequent updates. I do not have internet at the house in Angers, and I have yet to figure out how to use my laptop on campus. Ok, I lied. I can use it on every site I've tried but facebook, email, an I havent exactly tried this one yet. OOps.

Paris was absolutely amazing. I was very glad that I had Emma and Guillaume with me or else I don't think the transition would have gone as smoothly. While we did not go IN to many things, we did see a lot from the outside so that the next time we go we can choose what interested us the most and focus on that. There was this really cool large square with tons of art galleries. It reminded me of Chelsea in NYC. That is definitely on the top of my list for when I return! Speaking of top, we did go to the top of the Eiffel Tower! While it was absolutely freezing, the view was still fantastic. After that, we made the men (Guillaume and his friend, Sylvain) let us go to Starbucks to get our American coffee! (There is NOT a Starbucks in Angers!)

Now that I'm in Angers, it is interesting to note the weather patterns. So far every morning it has rained until 10 and it has started raining in the evening around 8 and ending around 11. I've only been here 2 days so that may not always be the case... but when it is not raining it is GORGEOUS outside!!!Hardly a cloud in the sky and in the sun I get so hot I have to take my coat off.

Until Monday morning I dont have any plans other than meet new people and explore the city. It is much larger than I thought, but still walking distance pretty much everywhere.

My host mom is really nice. Her name is Colette Charlot and she is 66 years old. She has a 43 year old son who has twin boys and a daughter. While traditionally younger people refer to their elders in the the vous form, which is formal, she told me to talk to her in the tu form, which is informal and usually used with parents and friends. So it's kind of weird but easier at the same time. My roommate, Laura, is also really nice. She's from a teeny tiny town near Seattle.

Ok, that's pretty much all I have for right now. I'm going to go get a baguette... France has been awful to my Lactose Intolerance-ness! It's hard to stay azay from cheese, bread, and eggs... and I can't find any cafés with soymilk!

a bientot...